Using 2 Cameras for an Interview

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    • #37074

      I having 2 cameras available to shoot an interview and wanted to ask about the best possible placement, angles, scale and framing. I do not need to see the interviewer so both cameras will be capturing the interviewee. One will probably be almost straight on, with them looking slightly off camera to the interviewer, but as for the other, i’m debating on whether to park it next to the first and just shoot a different shot scale so i have both to choose from, or also to shoot about 30 degrees to the subject so the angle is different for cutting also.

      Any feedback or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


    • #164350

      That all depends on what the interview is for. One idea would be to have the second camera as a handheld (no stabilizer) to get some 45 degree-ish shaky cam shots.

    • #164351

      A nice profile shot might look good. Also, a shot of the back of their head might be interesting with certain lighting. I would say set up the second camera wherever looks best in your location.

    • #164352

      There are some creative limitations on using two cameras in an interview environment when you just plan on shooting the interviewee with one.

      Here are some ideas to make it interesting:

      1. Shoot the interviewee over the interviewer’s shoulder

      2. Use the second camera for extreme closeups during the personal or emotional parts to bring the viewers attention to what is being said.

    • #164353

      i agree completely on the close ups- the matter is- whether or not to have those close ups at a different angle than the primary shot. i’m trying to find examples in editing where this is used to see if it works or looks silly? not sure if this cuts better or worse than very similary angles to the subject.


    • #164354

      It might be worth watching TV interview shows to see how professionals produce interviews. Try to find a TV show that discusses topics similar to your topic.

    • #164355


      Whats this for: live TV, TV tape roll-in, documentary??? Will it be edited?

      All of the suggestions above are good. If not live TV, you can try out different set-ups on the spot to see not what works the best, because many combos will, but what pleases you the best; i.e., your creative decision.

      You have the choice to copy convention or not. I saw an interesting doc on John Waters a while back where several interviewees were tipped to a diagonal plane vs the usual vertical. In the overall context of the doc, this was a great choice.

      Do you have like one friend/mate you can get over to practice on with a monitor? Spend a couple hours and make this decision in a non-pressure setting.

      Usually for docs, the interviewer is not shown; often, there will be just one camera angle. If a single cam on a tripod, a close-up to medium close-up would work. Camera best at head height (this would be default position; modify as needed for aesthetics, etc.). Watch out for lettering/symbols on clothing that could be a problem. Interviewees/subjects/
      talent sometimes have a best side; e.g., you can make bad teeth go away with a camera angle.

      Dont get hung up with text book lighting. Should be flattering to interviewee or in harmony somehow with the overall project. If you are in a TV studio, expect lighting to be superbright with no shadows; you can get techs to move those ceiling lights around if you know what effect you want (assumes you have producer clout).

      If it will be edited, even if not, you can be softly moving in and out during the interview with your zoom control.

      If shooting on the premises of the interviewee (office/cluttered dorm room/rice paddy/whatever), definitely do not let this background info go to waste. If shooting with two cams, keep them both rolling the entire interview. You may end up using one of them all the way through, without the other.

      REGARDS TOM 8)

    • #164356

      The over the shoulder shot would look awesome and professional. Good tips guys.

    • #164357

      Here’s a shot I like to get if I have an extra camera:

    • #164358

      question is- do you ‘vary’ that scale or leave it locked as a reliable cutaway? i’m slightly worried about varying both angles as we shoot between medium and close and ‘accidentally’ both being close when i’d need one a different scale to make an edit. i think it’ll look jumpy if both are at the same scale and i cut from strait on to my profile. seems like the angle change along with a scale change would make for the smoothest edit…



    • #164359

      Depending on what your interview is for, you can almost get away with leaving both cameras in a static shot. If you’ve got one that’s a close-up, and one that’s more like a medium shot, it’ll look pretty good from a TV/ENG standpoint.

      You can zoom in and out for other shots if you so desire, and there are some shots that do look really neat if used sparingly, like a super wide shot, or a super tight shot, and these shots are so seldom used, you wouldn’t want to have cameras set up exclusively for them. If you want to take these shots, leave one camera (Your profile/closeup camera) static, so you can switch to that camera while you’re zooming to set up your next shot.

    • #164360

      I agree that you are probably better off in almost every situation if you pick a shot for each camera and leave it alone! It is such a temptation to zoom in, zoom out, pan a little to the left, then to the right–all in the effort to "improve" the shot. The result is usually that you don’t improve the shot and you create major headaches in editing when you have something important happening on camera during one of your many adjustments.

      Two other points that might be obvious to you but not to someone new to shooting interviews…

      Set your exposure and focus, then click the camera to manual (this is usually more of a problem with consumer or prosumer gear). The temptation to allow a camera to remain on auto settings will usually cause problems when the camera decides to adjust in the middle of your shot.

      Also, put a lav mic on both speakers.

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